Image by: The Andrea Nigels Project
By Alexa Hughes
Change is business is inevitable, especially if you are committed to growth and keeping up with the times. Sometimes this change can be a bit challenging, but it is certainly never an easy thing. When there is no other option but to put some changes into effect, here are some of the best ways to incorporate new ideas into your business.
#1) Equip Employees With the Skills to Change
A lot of employers tend to use their training budgets for new hires, which of course is necessary. It should be allocated, however, in a manner that allows for training existing employees to handle changes in the company as well. This is equally or even more important, because if they can’t keep up with what you need them to do, then the whole company is going to suffer. There should also be focus spent on making sure that the changes stick even after they are put into effect.
#2) Discuss Potential Roadblocks
Bumps in the road and even total roadblocks are inevitable when changes are taking place, so letting your employees know that you’ll recover from them together is ideal. They don’t want to feel any worse than they already do for making mistakes, but of course you want them to remain focused despite them. What you can do to support them in this manner, is to identify where the potential issues might be and do what you can to work around them.
If you are incorporating a new system at work, pick a team leader who feels the most confident in the protocol and set up a training session, or have them in charge of answering questions as they arise in other employees. This can save time for you, and it can make your employees feel more comfortable asking for help when they need it if they don’t have to go all the way to the top to get a question answered. No one wants to come off as incompetent or falling behind, so let them do some sorting out amongst themselves when possible.
This will actually allow your employees to build some confidence as well, because by the time you get involved they will be able to show you all of the good stuff that is happening, not their confusion or complaints.
#3) Ask For Employee Input
Even though you might set it up so that your employees are directly asking you questions each day, you will still want to check in with them occasionally to get their input about the changes that are taking place. No one knows better where things are working and where there are not then the people who are actually involved in those workings. Your employees might be able to point out issues you would have never seen coming, and they might have better ideas of how to streamline things.
It is imperative however, that when you listen to what your employees have to say, that you don’t immediately disregard everything. They will stop communicating if they don’t feel like it is helpful for them to do. When people share their feelings and are repeatedly shut down it can get more challenging to get them to open up again. Make them feel heard even if you don’t agree with everything they have to say.
#4) Make Summary Reports
If you don’t keep track of the specifics of the changes you’re implementing you won’t know which parts are working and which parts were better off before. Sometimes changing everything at once can get pretty confusing. Keep up with detailed summary reports so that you can catch bad moves before they take down the whole operation. You will also be able to see surprising areas where business is thriving, and give you the motivation to zero in on why.
#5) Celebrate Milestones
When you ask a lot of change out of your employees they should of course comply, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t feel the changes strongly and maybe even be slightly stressed out about it. The best way to keep their spirits up regarding change in the workplace is to specifically celebrate milestones having to do with the changes that our occurring to remind them that they are a necessary part of it.
This might be throwing a little party once a new system is put in place, or even bringing in a coffee cart to keep them amused during training days. Just doing a little something extra can make them feel included in the process, as well as the outcome.
Have you had a lot of experience implementing big changes in business? Did you use any of these techniques? Let us know your experiences or if you are planning to make some changes soon.